A modern prophet on bigotry and misogyny

A modern prophet on bigotry and misogyny December 2, 2023

 

BY w/LW for 6DIA
Brigham Young in a discussion with Elder Lyman Wight, as depicted in the Interpreter Foundation’s film-in-development, “Six Days in August”

 

The other day, I set up an online Facebook fundraiser for the Interpreter Foundation.  It’s at https://www.facebook.com/donate/1022507169072678/.

I have to confess that, at least so far, it’s not doing as well this year as in previous years, probably (at least in part) because, for the first time, they’re taking a slice out of the donation for processing.  That new charge makes me less enthusiastic about it than I have been in the past.  Still, Interpreter needs donations to survive and to flourish, and this last month of the calendar year is by far the year’s most important period for fundraising.  So I have to mention such things.  Moreover, the Facebook donation site is convenient.

Still, as an alternative for those who might want to join the cause and help out, I suggest the donation page on the Interpreter Foundation website.  It offers several possibilities.  All donations are welcome, whether large or small.

Unfortunately, Amazon.smile no longer functions.  It was never a really significant source of funding for us, but it certainly was a good thing.  It offered support to many good causes, well beyond the Interpreter Foundation, and  I’m sad that it has been closed down.

 

Russell M. Nelson's latest book cover
Fair use, from Amazon.com

 

I’ve been reading the new book by President Russell M. Nelson, Heart of the Matter: What 100 Years of Living Have Taught Me (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2023).  Here are some of the passages that have leapt out at me thus far:

Any abuse or prejudice toward another because of nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender, educational degrees, culture, or any other significant identifiers is offensive to our Maker.  (52)

I think that this statement, from the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whom members of the Church revere as a prophet, a seer, and a revelator, ought to pretty much settle the matter of whether bigotry or misogyny is acceptable in the Kingdom.

He also condemns the climate of rhetorical total war — which sometimes goes even beyond the merely rhetorical — that has come to prevail in our diseased public discourse:

The relentless efforts of cancel culture to render another person unworthy of respect, just because they have a different point of view, are unfair, distressing, and paralyze rich dialogue that could advance a society.  (62)

Turning to women inside and outside of the Church, President Nelson quotes the late and much missed Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? . . .  Will what happened it cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?  When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time.  The women of God know this.”  (cited on page 85)

Manifestly, though, President Nelson does not limit the roles and potential contributions of women to the realm of nursery and kitchen, to the restrictive area of pure domesticity:

A wise stake president reported about a stake council meeting in which they were wrestling with a difficult challenge.  At one point, he realized that the stake Primary president had not spoken, so he asked her if she had any impressions.  “Well, actually I do,” she said, and then proceeded to share an insight that changed the entire direction of the meeting.  The stake president concluded, “As she spoke, the Spirit testified to me that she had given voice to the revelation we had been seeking as a council.”

I dearly wish for our sisters, whatever their calling or circumstances, to know that the Church at every level needs their impressions, their insights, and their inspiration.  We need them to speak up and speak out in ward and stake councils.  We need each married sister to speak as “a contributing and full partner” as she unites with her husband in governing their family.  Married or single, old or young, highly educated or trained by the school of life, our sisters possess distinctive capabilities and special intuition they have received as gifts from God.  We brethren cannot duplicate their unique insights and influence.  (91)

But he also addresses a darker, more negative topic:

It grieves me to think that any woman has been marginalized or abused by a husband, father, or supposed friend, or has not been believed by a priesthood leader.  I feel deep sorrow to think that any woman may have felt sidelined, disrespected, or misjudged.  Such offenses have no place in the kingdom of God.  (94)

 

Dr. Nelson at work
Russell M. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., prior to his call as an apostle.
Provenance of photo unknown, available online

 

We were out on the water again yesterday, accompanying The Unbearable Cuteness of Being aboard a large catamaran from the Sea of Cortez to the Pacific Ocean and back again.  (It’s not really very far; it’s only necessary for the boat to round the cape, although we went a little further than necessary.)  The new cruise ship Discovery Princess was moored in the harbor of Cabo San Lucas.  When the sun went gorgeously down and the ship’s lights went on, it was breathtakingly beautiful.  Two days ago, the Royal Caribbean Lines ship Navigator of the Seas was in port at exactly the same location.  I’m assuming that cruise ships visiting Los Cabos are obliged to use “tenders” here to shuttle their passengers onto the shore; apparently no sufficiently deep harbor is available.  That’s fairly common at cruise destinations.

 

Lyman Wight, before his apostasy
Elder Lyman Wight, as depicted in “Six Days in August”

 

Finally, here are three deeply troubling items that I’ve plucked for you from the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File™:

“Elder Jeremy R. Jaggi Hosts Religious Freedom Luncheon in Wellington, New Zealand: “Our earthly journey is to support, sustain and build up human dignity in one another with kindness, compassion and peace.””

“2023 Light the World Invites All to ‘Let Your Light Shine’ This Christmas: New this year are online ‘service shuffler’ to get service ideas, videos featuring beneficiaries of Giving Machines for #LighttheWorld”

“Light the World:  Let your light shine this Christmas season as you love the people around you, share joy, and follow the example of Jesus Christ.”

 

Posted from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

 

 

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